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BWW Interview: Ivan Anderson Talks Improv, Emails and More About CyberTank's Weekly Live Performance Series EMAIL PRO

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Tune in to EMAIL PRO every Sunday and interact with Ivan and your fellow virtual audience members!

BWW Interview: Ivan Anderson Talks Improv, Emails and More About CyberTank's Weekly Live Performance Series EMAIL PRO

We've all gotten those emails. The ones that leave you questioning, 'How exactly did I end up on this list, again?' and 'What exactly is this email trying to tell me?' or 'I didn't think I needed plants specifically tailored to my personality, but maybe I will sign up now to get a monthly supply...' Ivan Anderson has created an entirely original, completely improvised show around the concept of writing and sending emails to strangers, and the result is the highly entertaining and incredibly creative Email Pro.

Email Pro is a weekly live performance series at The Tank, which originally took place in person and is now a part of CyberTank, The Tank's online platform. Viewers interact with Ivan via online chat and submit email addresses of whoever comes to mind - friends, colleagues, that person you sat next to in your first class in college - for Ivan to - on the spot- craft wacky, thoughtful, amusing emails that you may not have known you needed, but will leave you laughing, scratching your head, contemplating your life, or all three.

Email Pro takes place every Sunday on Twitch. We spoke with Ivan about the wildest email he's ever sent, the differences between in person performances and virtual, and more!

For more information visit: https://thetanknyc.org/cybertank


How did you come up with the idea for Email Pro?

At the time, I was working full-time as a copy editor and going through a personality crisis, which I handled by sending short, random emails to my friends every day. The emails were sort of funny and sort of hostile for no reason, and if you were friends with me, they were just something you had to absorb as part of the relationship. At a certain point, my friends convinced me to send the emails to other people they knew, and it became an email newsletter. And then it became a show where I enroll people in the newsletter-that's what you're watching when you watch Email Pro now, more or less.

How has it been moving the show from an in-person format to a virtual format?

I really love the fact that people in the audience can type comments as the show is happening. For one thing, interacting with them that way gives me a lot of material, which is good, because the whole show is improvised. But the other thing that started happening is that the audience members chat with each other, and that has now become its own world. The Email Pro chat is like a totally bizarre house party or something. Two of my chat users recently got "chat-married" to each other, like they had a chat marriage ceremony while my show was happening. I don't understand it, I literally don't know what any part of "chat-married" means. But from what I understand the chat users are doing serious work.

Take me through what goes through your mind while crafting an email on the spot.

The crucial mindset here is not being on the lookout for something funny. The show is supposed to be funny, so it's scary not to hunt for that constantly. But really what I'm thinking about is "What are my questions for this person? What's interesting about them? And what's suspicious about them?" If I think in those terms, it ends up being funnier, and it ends up being more real. Otherwise, it would just be me doing an hour of quips. And I hate that style of comedy. David Lee Roth once said, "Humor-not jokes, humor-at the highest level is not funny at all." That's what everyone should be thinking when they do email.

What is the craziest email you've ever sent? What is the craziest response you received back?

The craziest one I ever got was from a woman who enrolled in Email Pro over Craigslist, and then responded to every email I sent for a year and a half with a single smiley face. Then, after all that, she unsubscribed and said, "I don't really understand what Email Pro is." As for the craziest one I've ever sent, I honestly don't know. All of them are extremely problematic.

When is your next show and how can we tune in?

The next one is this Sunday (and every Sunday) at 1 PM ET, on Twitch. No log-in required, just go here: https://www.twitch.tv/thecybertank


What do you love most about being able to present entertainment during this time?

I have close to zero ideas about how to be relevant or how to incorporate "the current moment" into what I'm doing, but I do feel like I'm able to express a certain amount of frustration and emotional confusion at the world, in a way that's funny and that people can relate to. So I like being able to work through that, on a weekly basis, with an interactive audience. And I like the idea that if people want to dunk their head in the waters of WTF, they can come to my livestream and be part of my WTF club.

Do you have anything else you would like to share?

I recently finished putting together an online archive of all the emails I've ever sent, including the ones from the early days. The entire site is meant to look and feel like Email Pro, so basically weird and fun: https://emailpro.email/


For more information visit: https://thetanknyc.org/cybertank

Check out a recent show below!


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